Belfast Telegraph

IRA rape claims woman says she'll meet Gerry Adams ... in public

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams
Claire Williamson

By Claire Williamson

The woman who claimed the republican movement was involved in a cover-up of sexual abuse has said she is willing to take Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams up on his offer of a meeting - but in public.

Mairia Cahill told a BBC programme that republicans had responded to her allegations of rape by an IRA member by interrogating her and imposing a code of silence to protect the movement.

She also claimed the IRA brought her face to face with the man she accused in 1997 of sexually abusing her as a teenager. Her alleged abuser denied the allegations and was later acquitted.

Ms Cahill has spoken about a meeting she had months later with Mr Adams concerning the claims. Yesterday, Mr Adams said he had not made remarks attributed to him by Ms Cahill.

He said: "I am personally horrified at the allegation that I would make the comments Mairia has attributed to me. I would never make such remarks to anyone, much less an alleged victim of abuse."

When asked on RTE about his meeting with Ms Cahill, the former West Belfast MP said the rape allegation was not discussed. But at a Press conference with Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin in Dublin, Ms Cahill said: "I am appalled quite frankly. Gerry knows the truth and he knows I know the truth.

"I have been forced into a position where I have to waive my anonymity because of his denials and Sinn Fein denials and I think it is reprehensible."

Mr Martin said it was "absolutely despicable" that Mr Adams tried to undermine Ms Cahill's allegations in his interview. He called on the Sinn Fein leader to stop denying Ms Cahill's version of events.

Yesterday, Tanaiste Joan Burton praised Ms Cahill's "courage and bravery".

"Mairia's story is deeply disturbing, both in the incidents she describes and in the frustrations she has experienced in seeking justice, and it raises serious questions for all of those involved," she said.

Earlier, Mr Adams said he was willing to talk to Ms Cahill.

He said: "Notwithstanding the clear differences between us about what conversations we had, I am happy to meet with Mairia Cahill if she so wishes and if it is of any help to her."

Ms Cahill, grand-niece of late IRA leader Joe Cahill, said she would be willing to meet the Louth TD.

She said: "I am quite happy to come face to face with Gerry Adams in front of the media, and go back through six years of meetings with him, from 2000 until 2006, and cover all the issues.

"I have a forensic memory in relation to this because I was traumatised at the time – one of the things about trauma is that people remember in minute detail what happened to them."

Quotes

"I know there are other women and men who have been treated in the same way because they have contacted me, particularly in light of the Spotlight programme. I have also met with former senior members of the Provisional IRA who also confirmed they internally investigated cases of abuse."

– Mairia Cahill

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